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Lorna Jane abandons sale plans


Lorna jane century city 3Australian women’s activewear brand, Lorna Jane, has cancelled sale plans and says it will shift its focus to international expansion instead.

The decision follows a six month process, involving interest from more than 40 parties, to find a new equity partner.

Lorna Jane is majority owned by founders Lorna and Bill Clarkson, while private equity firm, Champ Ventures, holds a 40 per cent stake, purchased in 2010.

During sale talks US-based sports retailers, Foot Locker and Under Armour, were among the names speculated as potential trade buyers of the sports brand, which has an estimated value of between $400 to $500 million.

Lorna Jane CEO, Bill Clarkson, said the decision was made as it became obvious he and founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson, needed to retain control if their ambition of evolving Lorna Jane into an internationally renowned brand was to be recognised.

“Lorna and I were offered a lot of money to hand control to someone else, but we realised our vision of creating a global brand would never happen unless we were both in the driver’s seat, so the decision was simple after that,” Clarkson said.

“The best is most certainly yet to come for Lorna Jane as we enter a time where the activewear market is booming as it  crosses into mainstream, which was Lorna’s vision when she started the business 25 years ago.”

Champ Ventures will retain its 40 per cent share of Lorna Jane, while Lorna Jane Clarkson will continue as head designer.

Started in Brisbane in 1989, there are  more than 170 Lorna Jane stores worldwide and 45 international stockists. 

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